State Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, released this statement following Gov. Gregoire's press conference today:
"Today, our governor took a historic step toward extending the fundamental rights and freedoms that we embrace in America to all of our citizens; ensuring that all families are treated fairly.
“In 2007, Sen. Ed Murray began this process by introducing and passing the first domestic partnership legislation in Washington. That bill was the first step on a journey that must end in full marriage equality.
“Marriage is more than just a collection of rights and protections – it is the commitment between two people who love each other and have pledged to support one another in life. Love for our partners and for our family gives life meaning, provides us comfort, and shapes our identity. By continuing to differentiate between types of loving relationships, we separate and isolate those within our communities. We must recognize that separate can never be equal and a domestic partnership can never be a marriage.
“Growing up, I was taught that a family was not determined by the genders of the persons involved but by the love and commitment that they shared. I was taught that every person is to be treated with respect and dignity. These are the values that I have carried with me throughout my life. These are the values that my wife and I have passed on to our daughter.
“The marriage equality legislation discussed today by the governor is a long overdue recognition of these core human rights. This legislation does not create new rights for gay and lesbian couples. Nor does it force our religious institutions to abide by new rules. This legislation simply recognizes that all families deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.
“As the son of a gay man, I grew up with a strong value system nurtured by a father who provided me with a foundation to succeed and gave me unconditional love and support. This legislation will provide thousands of families like mine with the respect and dignity they deserve.
“For decades our country has struggled with discrimination in many forms. While it takes time, education and sacrifice to conquer injustices, those on the side of promoting tolerance and equality have always prevailed. This year, we have a chance to do something wonderful for thousands of Washingtonians. This year we have the opportunity to stand up for equality for all.
“I am thankful for the leadership of Sen. Murray and others who have worked tirelessly for years to bring us to this point, and to our governor for her commitment to human rights. I am honored to have the opportunity to stand up and be on the right side of history this session by strongly supporting marriage equality.”
For more information, Michael Althauser, 360-786-7326